Members considered a planning application for demolition of the exiting dwelling and erection of a large house of multiple occupation (sui generis use class) with associated access alterations, vehicle parking and landscaping at Rosemary Villa, 30 Wragby Road, Sudbrooke, Lincoln LN2 2QU.
There was no update to this application from officers at the start of the item.
The first speaker to this application was Councillor Peter Heath from Sudbrooke Parish Council. He raised the following points of view:
· The Sudbrooke Neighbourhood Plan (NP) was due to go to referendum in February; as it had been examined, it should be taken into account;
· Policy 1 of the proposed Sudbrooke Neighbourhood Plan related to additional development, in that it would be supported provided that there was clear support from local residents. Applicants were encouraged to agree a scope and a consultation with Sudbrooke Parish Council prior to development taking place. A consultation statement should accompany the planning application;
· Development proposals for smaller homes for younger individuals, as well as specialist homes for older people with specific needs would be encouraged;
· Extensions and alterations to homes was considered under Policy 2 of the Sudbrooke NP. This allowed extensions and alterations that were sensitive to the character of the area. This policy only applied where planning permission was required;
· Extensions and alterations within the parish where planning permissions would be required would be supported when the following criteria were met:
o Size, scale and materials should be in-keeping with the surrounding area;
o Extensions and alterations do not result in the reduction of the private amenity of neighbouring residents through overlooking, overshadowing, loss of light or an overbearing appearance;
o There should also be no adverse effect on the amenity benefits for the community, or for the landscape or local wildlife;
· The parish council did not object to the redevelopment of the site provided that it complied with sections 1 and 2 of the proposed Sudbrooke Neighbourhood Plan; the current application did not do so;
· There had been conflicting advice from WLDC officers on the ‘loss of light’. This was a national guideline, and it had been incorrectly stated that this development did not breach it. However, when this was pointed out WLDC stated that this ‘loss of light ‘guideline had not been adopted;
· Despite Lincolnshire Highways having no objection to additional traffic near to the junction of the A158 and Scothern Lane, Sudbrooke Parish Council remained concerned for public safety.
The second speaker to the application was Mr Vaddaram, the applicant. He raised the following points:
· A response had been given to all objections previously;
· Against the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan specifically, the following points were raised:
o LP1 – this application delivered the core aim of the policy, sustainable development;
o LP2 – this proposal did not add any additional dwellings in the village;
o LP3 – the local plan’s aim was to facilitate new dwellings;
o LP7 – this development would deliver high quality sustainable visitor facilities, and respected the environment of the existing settlement;
o LP10 – developers were expected to contribute to housing needs; this development helped to support mixed and balanced communities;
o LP17 – the development was a replacement dwelling for the structure currently on-site;
o LP26 – in-depth analysis of these principles had been carried out within the application and in the report;
· Against the objections on the Design and Access Statement, the following points were raised;
o 5.22 – contrary to comments this application was not for a block of flats and did not block any features in the village;
o 5.23 – the application complied with LP10 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (CLLP), and respected the NP;
o 6.2 – the A158 was the main arterial road into Lincoln; however it was still considered as a residential street within Sudbrooke;
o 6.3 – new proposals were in-keeping with the streetscene, scale, massing and design;
o 6.5 – Sudbrooke Parish Council’s claim that Martin Evans was not a Senior Planning Officer at WLDC was refuted;
o 6.6 – it was not disputed that Sudbrooke was an attractive village; however this dwelling would raise the general standard in the area;
o 6.7 – the applicant disagreed with Sudbrooke Parish Council and felt that he had demonstrated that the application conformed to all policies stated;
o 6.9 – as an applicant, was confident that this type of development was needed in the locality;
o 6.11 – demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that this development did meet all policies mentioned.
The third speaker was Andy Clarke, the son in law of the resident of 28 Wragby Road in Sudbrooke, which was next door to the proposed application (Andy was speaking on his behalf). The following points were raised:
· A smaller scale development would be happily supported;
· The original report for this application intimated that the ’45 degree line’ for lighting would not be exceeded at the rear of the property; however it appeared that the original plans were incorrect and the 45 degree line would be exceeded. However, following conversations with planning officers at WLDC it had been revealed that the 45 degree policy was not a WLDC policy; it was a national guideline that had not been adopted.
· This development would have an impact on outlook and light; there were also questions around why this policy had been mentioned in the original report by way of supporting the application;
· There was a belief that the proposed building would contravene neighbouring residents rights under Right of Light Act 1959;
· Believe that side windows would fail a ’25 degree’ daylight/sunlight test;
· The Planning Officer stated that the ‘right to light’ was not a planning consideration; although it should be absolute if light had been enjoyed for over 20 years by the neighbour, which it had in this case;
· LP26 of the CLLP had been used in the report to recommend approval;
· The side windows of 28 Wragby Road are the only windows into the dining room; the new development would cause a loss of light to that property;
· In the opinion of Mr Clarke, a significant amount of support for the application had come from the applicant, as evidenced on the internet and social media. The majority of the comments had been added on the same day.
The final speaker was Councillor Bob Waller, the Ward Councillor for Scothern and Sudbrooke. He raised the following points of view:
· On 11 December Cllr Waller spoke against the application at that night’s Planning Committee; he had heard nothing since to change his mind;
· This was an application for a holiday let being brought to committee as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO). If at a later date it was deemed a business, there would be a long battle over enforcement which would not be good for anybody;
· There was an existing HMO on Manor Drive in Sudbrooke for young adults. Residents did not object to HMOs as long as they were controlled correctly;
· The objection was not to the site being developed per se; but getting a development in keeping with the character of the area whilst conforming with the NP;
· Previous allegations that the application would be rejected because of the applicant’s ethnic background were upsetting;
· The application went against the NPPF, the CLLP and the Sudbrooke NP;
· Nationally, local communities were encouraged to develop a NP for their weight in planning applications; it had taken a lot of work to get Sudbrooke NP to this stage.
Note: Following his contribution, Councillor Waller left the Chamber.
Planning Officers and the Legal Representative responded to some of the points raised by the public speakers:
· Planning officers had formulated their report on planning considerations; the right to light was a private matter to be decided outside of the planning regime;
· Sudbrooke NP had not been to a referendum; therefore regard could be given to it but it did not carry substantial weight;
· The application was being considered against the development plan which here was the CLLP; the NP would not yet be part of the statutory development plan unless the upcoming referendum returned a ‘yes’ vote. The weight given to the NP would be as an emerging policy;
· Policy 1 of the Sudbrooke NP referred to additional residential development; this was considered as replacement housing with no net gain in housing numbers. Policy 2 referred to extensions to existing dwellings; this was not an extension or an alteration and the policies were not considered to be applicable;
· The right to light would not be relevant and would be a private matter considered outside of the planning regime; however loss of light would be a planning issue. Officers would recommend that the development would not lead to the amenity of neighbouring properties being ‘unduly harmed’;
· The application under consideration is for a large HMO; any other unauthorised use would be a matter for enforcement.
Members then provided their comments on the report, and asked questions of officers. Further information was provided:
· Most journeys in and out of this property would be made by car due to its location in Sudbrooke; the A158 provides a barrier between the property and the main part of the village. The nearest railway station was in Lincoln. There was a bus service for the village for journeys into Lincoln, and to the coast;
· LP1 of the CLLP made reference to sustainable development, and growth that brings benefit to all sectors of the community;
· This village was in the ‘Wragby Road character area’; currently this dwelling was a single family residence rather than an HMO;
· The government would allow demolition of the current dwelling, subject to the type of demolition being employed. The demolition would also be subject to the site’s restoration.
Two courses of action had been moved and seconded; the first of these to be voted on was refusal, with the second option being to grant the permission as written in the report. The vote on refusal was successful so then it became the substantive recommendation. Following a further vote, planning permission was REFUSED, as it would be contrary to LP1, LP13, LP18 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan, along with Paragraph 127 sections a,b,c,d and f of the National Planning Policy Framework.
The proposal does not meet the requirement to deliver sustainable growth, growth that is not for its own sake, but growth that brings benefits for all sectors of the community- for existing residents as much as for new ones. The proposal would intensify the use of the site and is in an unsustainable location, physically separated away from the main settlement by the A158 (Wragby Road), leading to an overreliance on the private car and lack of public transport to access the proposal and for occupants to access services and facilities in Sudbrooke and beyond resulting in a failure to minimise the need to travel and, where travel is necessary, to maximise opportunities for sustainable modes of travel. The proposal is not located where travel can be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes maximised.
The proposal has unacceptable design principles as it would harm the coherent group of four dwellings and would discord with the character of the area. The proposal would not function well and add to the overall quality of the area, not just for the short term but over the lifetime of the development; would not be visually attractive as a result of good architecture, layout and appropriate and effective landscaping; would not be sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting, and would not amount to appropriate innovation or change; would not establish or maintain a strong sense of place, using the arrangement of streets, spaces, building types and materials to create attractive, welcoming and distinctive places to live, work and visit; and would not create places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being, with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users. Therefore, the proposal is not sustainable development and is contrary to Policies LP1, LP13a, LP18 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan and Paragraph 127 a to d and f of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Note: Following the conclusion of this item, Councillor Bob Waller returned to the Chamber.